Advanced search

Anyone who writes crime fiction with police detectives...

(18 Posts)
BurlingtonBertieFromBow Thu 30-Aug-12 23:14:42

How do you do your research on how the police work and what would and wouldn't happen? Is it just from reading other novels, or do you have a tame police person to ask? Or is there a book with the basics in? Or is it just extensive Googling?

I've got an idea for a detective novel that I want to write, but technical stuff about police procedure is holding me back.

thank you

DisorderlyNights Thu 30-Aug-12 23:21:38

I'm only witting kids fiction, but wanted the procedurals to be right. (parents of the POV child go missing).
I needed help with social work procedure as well as police. I Googled a lot while writing my plan, then showed it to two social worker friends to check accuracy. One of them had a copper friend who then read it. I found out stuff that was very helpful for my plot - such as a missing person report can be made as soon as there is concern, you don't have to wait a certain amount of hours/days for it.

Once I'm happy with the draft I'm on, I'll get them to read the whole thing for minor issues, but yes, Google can be limited so ask around for friends of friends in the right jobs.

scurryfunge Thu 30-Aug-12 23:28:49

You may find the Murder Manual useful if you google it.

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Thu 30-Aug-12 23:31:42

That's very useful - thank you! Are you guys published?

scurryfunge Thu 30-Aug-12 23:38:57

No, I'm old bill. You may get an insight from the Police Oracle forum too.

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Thu 30-Aug-12 23:41:00

Cool - thank you! Scurry, do you ever read crime novels and spot inaccuracies? I know a SOCO person but no actual police

scurryfunge Thu 30-Aug-12 23:43:44

Yes, I do occasionally. One thing that annoys a police officer is inaccurate procedures- though police officers are not likely to be your target audience so I wouldn't worry too much.

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Thu 30-Aug-12 23:44:45

Yeah probably a bit of a busman's holiday for them, reading a police novel...

scurryfunge Thu 30-Aug-12 23:53:25

I enjoy reading crime fiction but it's the basics that annoy me, like getting the caution wrong. True police procedures are incredibly dull for a reader so I understand why writers may take short cuts in explaining process to make it more exciting.

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Thu 30-Aug-12 23:55:54

smile cool to have your opinion
I know what you mean - I'm a history geek but I love some massively inaccurate historical novels or films because I know telling the strict truth would be pretty dull

DisorderlyNights Fri 31-Aug-12 00:16:38

I'm not published yet, so feel free to take my advice with a huge pinch of salt!

Good luck with your writing. Sounds very exciting, I love the planning stage.

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Fri 31-Aug-12 00:19:41

Me too. I have a bit of a dark mind so it's nice to be able to do something where being cynical and dark is a positive advantage! I think I'm pretty mild compared to some writers who are very gory!

DisorderlyNights Fri 31-Aug-12 00:48:35

See, my mind isn't dark enough. I struggled to get my villain sufficiently evil.

MS 1 is with an editor <bites nails nervously> so I'm planning book 2 at the moment. After several months of editing, it's so fun being purely creative. Enjoy this part, agonising over whether your character just glanced, peered or stared comes all too quickly!

BurlingtonBertieFromBow Fri 31-Aug-12 00:49:33

I have done a bit of first-drafting of this idea in a previous incarnation. I hate the first draft stage so much but quite like editing. I find you can make something look less shit quite quickly smile

DisorderlyNights Fri 31-Aug-12 09:17:17

I enjoy the first edit; the rewrite, for the reason you say, it gets better fast. But I took it through six different edits (following advice being keep editing until you feel you can't do another... And then do one more!) and a lot of those were searching for boring or overused verbs and replacing them. It got very dull. But I hope I'll never need that many drafts again, I've learned so much through this process.

DisorderlyNights Fri 31-Aug-12 09:18:09

Excuse my crappy typing, not a morning person!

LadySybildeChocolate Sun 09-Sep-12 13:01:15

Hi smile I usually write children's fantasy books (haven't been published, yet) and have a plot for a children's detective novel. I've started to write it, but I've no idea what I'm doing really. I miss dragons! sad

CoffeeInTheMorning Sun 09-Sep-12 20:41:39

A good place to check facts on any subject you're writing about (fiction) is the LiveJournal community "Little Details". Make sure you read their guidelines first (about doing some internet research yourself first and not just asking there first) but the community is very good at coming up with technical advice on things like police procedural (historical fiction on this too) and murder techniques etc

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now